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Community and the Value of a 'Kinky' Business Idea

Posted by Laura Lorber | August 2, 2012
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/224111
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Photo courtesy of sheknows.com

Emotions can run deep, for both women and men, when it comes to hair. And where there's passion, there's a potential business idea. That's one thing we've learned watching the power of online community prove itself again and again.

One case in point is a recent flap over the public diss of a million-dollar investment in NaturallyCurly.com, an online community for people with curly and kinky hair.

In a piece titled: "Dumb Money: Exposing Silicon Valley’s Stupidest Investments," a writer for New York magazine snarked " . . . what kind of genius decided to throw $1.2 million at NaturallyCurly, the 'leading social network and community for people with wavy, curly and kinky hair?' "

Outrage from the curly-haired community followed. A Huff-Po blogger piled on, as did race-and-pop-culture blog Racialicious, which spawned a discussion on Ycombinator.com, the site of the Silicon Valley seed accelerator.

Related: Five Creativity Exercises to Find Your Passion

Michelle Breyer, co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com, was thrilled with the outpouring of vocal support from its community. "The response has been really, really positive," says Breyer, president of Austin, Texas-based TextureMedia Inc., which is the parent company of NaturallyCurly.com and earns money from advertising, market research and ecommerce. "The entire curly world got on there and said: 'Do you know what you're talking about?' "

What can entrepreneurs learn from the kerfuffle?

Related: How to Create a Vision Board for Business Ideas on Pinterest